Kingsland History (incorporated city)

Kingsland TrainIn 1788, the King family bought large amounts of land west of St. Marys.  The Kings named the plantation Woodlawn.  William Henry King later built a home on "King's Land."  In 1893 the first passenger train rolled into Camden and right across King property.  As Mr. William King's house was the only one in site, the railroad company gave the area the name Kings Land.

With the coming of the railroad, people from all areas began to build in and around Kings Land, now known as Kingsland.

Residents from St. Marys, Florida, and even Savannah settled there.  Houses were built, stores were opened, and in 1908, Kingsland was finally incorporated.  William H. King was the first Mayor.  The first Kingsland paper published was by the Southeast Georgian on April 5, 1895.Railroad Depot, Kingsland, GA  Recently the Camden County Tribune bought the Southeast Georgian. The SE Georgian office was moved after occupying the same building since 1934.

In 1912, the town was expanded.  More streets were cleared and graded and a jail was built.  Oil streetlights were added.  In 1924, the first electric light was installed.  The Kings provided electricity for this light until GA Power brought electricity to the area in the late 20s.

Main Street, Kingsland.  The first bank (Bank of Kingsland) was established in 1912 and was located on Railroad Depot, Kingsland, GARailroad Ave.  The first bank robbery (that I know of) was in 1928 and the bank's original cashier, Mr. Perry, was killed in that robbery.  Citizen's Bank was built after WWII and was located on Lee St. a.k.a. Highway 17.  It is now located on King Street (a.k.a. Highway 40).

The unpaved Dixie Highway was planned in 1912 and ran from Maine to Miami.

At this time, the St. Marys River Ferry was established in Kingsland to allow people access to St. Marys and vice versa.  There was no road between the two towns at that time.  Just forest and swamp!  In 1927 the (paved) Atlantic Coastal Highway was opened.  We know it as Highway 17 or Lee Street.  Eventually, the ferry was replaced by the cement and steel bridge that is still in use today.  Rarely will you witness the center of this blue bridge pivot to allow boats to pass under it as they work their way up the St. Marys River.Kingsland Hwy. 17

An early business well worth note here was the first black retail business, which was a grocery store.  Named after Orange Edwards, the owner, it was on North Railroad Avenue.  A street there is named after him and he was honored when the Negro Elementary School was named the O.F. Edwards School.  Since integration in the 1960's, all children have been attending school together.

In 1915, Q.L. Claxton came to Kingsland to set up the Kingsland Coca-Cola Bottling Works.  This plant created jobs for many Kingsland residents until the plant ceased operations in 1953.

Kingsland FerryThe original Post Office stood on Hwy. 17 for nearly 70 years before a new building was opened in the mid-60's.  In the mid-80's the one currently in use was opened.

In 1969, integration was achieved with little trouble.  My husband James, who was in school at that time, does not remember any major problems like other southern towns faced.

Kingsland's population, as judged from census figures, has never dropped, but has always steadily grown to this day.

There are many wonderful places to go and see in Kingsland.  While there are few old houses, some, such as the Fleming house on the corner of Highway 17 and Highway 40, are falling to ruin.  In the last few years downtown Kingsland got a face-lift when period streetlights were installed and brick sidewalks were laid.King House

The original King home no longer stands.  To the right is the current King/Davis home built in the 1920's.  It's now owned and used as offices by the Kingsland Methodist Church.

The old Kingsland Hotel has been renovated in the last few years and is now the Kingsland Welcome Center.

Kingsland HotelThe inside of the old hotel has been lovingly restored.  The staircase and the fireplace can be seen in old photos of the hotel.

Antique stores line both sides of Highway 17.  Catfish Park, heading south out of Kingsland, is a very nice place to take kids.  Play equipment has been set up in the small park for younger children.  I say small, but I mean it in a positive way.  It is not so big that you cannot sit down in one place and always be able to see where the kids are.Kingsland Hotel Inside

In the past few years, Kingsland has acquired a Publix, a K-Mart, a Sonny's, an Applebees, and many other businesses.  Moreover, let us not forget that Kingsland is the birthplace of GnatNET, Camden County's first Internet Service Provider!  I wonder what Mr. King would think about that?

 

 

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